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November 1993

Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and Cognitive Neuroscience

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif.

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(11):1246-1251. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160350120019

Cognitive neuroscience is a new research enterprise that studies the mind and its workings.1 It draws on the theoretical, experimental, and analytical traditions of fields such as neurobiology, psychology, linguistics, and computational science, using results from each to constrain theories in the others. It also draws on powerful new experimental methods, such as those being developed in the field of neuroimaging. The significance of cognitive neuroscience for pediatricians is reflected in the recent literature, which is replete with articles on the cognitive aspects of specific disease states,2,3 the cognitive effects of pharmacotherapy,4,5 and the cognitive consequences of other therapeutic interventions.6,7 It is reflected also in the increasing share of pediatric practice that is devoted to the evaluation and management of primary cognitive disorders (eg, attentional disorders, learning disorders, and other developmental problems). Pediatrics and pediatric patients therefore stand to benefit greatly from progress in cognitive neuroscience.

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